Archive for the ‘Teh paladin’ category

Holy Avenger and EF Blanketing – The Results

June 15, 2013

As I was researching yesterday’s post (and by researching, I mean creepy stalking top Holy Pally parsers on World of Logs), I noticed that every one of them was using a healing technique I hadn’t tried:

Holy Avenger on CD, Holy Power built through Holy Radiance and Holy Shock and sunk via Eternal Flame blanketing over as much of the raid as possible.

I checked both 10s and 25s, under the Heroics tab. Both used this trick, though 25s players seemed more likely to blow Divine Favor and Avenging Wrath at the same time as Holy Avenger (time for a macro?) while 10s generally staggered their CDs out more.

So it seems I’m well behind the times (that’s what happens when WoW takes the backseat for months), but I’m sure I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE.

Plus before and after screenshots are always tons of fun.

The Changes

On top of using the Holy Avenger trick, I also started tracking Illuminated Healing (Mastery). I doubt it made a significant difference but it did lightly influence where I would cast my Holy Radiance/Holy Shock/Eternal Flame.

Our healing comp was a bit different than last week too. Last week my Copally was away, and this week we were missing our Monk and Druid S. This would have an effect on how each of us heal in comparison to one and other, but I really don’t think it would account for a drastic change. After all, we rarely use the same healing comp on a given fight from week to week anyway.

In terms of gear, if you look at the past few weeks, my gear will have improved, but between this week and last, the only differences were how I found two pieces that made me to think “I could have sworn I’d reforged these!“, and my weekly VP gear upgrading. So, some influence on my stats, but less than a clear change.

Notes on Throughput and Functionality

This is obviously a post on throughput. Throughput has its place. After all, if healers can’t keep up with the damage or with their teammates, they’re holding the raid back. Plus, guild and healing leads from all brackets (yes, I’ve seen leads from guilds who can’t kill normal Horridon obsess over healing meters) don’t see past meters and HPS. So meter milking is a good skill to have if you want some peace and quiet.

However, throughput is not a replacement for functionality.

A healer’s first priority is to keep the raid (or healing assignment, depending on the team and the fight) alive through every mechanic. Standing still and spamming heals isn’t a luxury most of us have access to. (And even if it were, it doesn’t sound very fun, you know?)

My poor copally, who ended up, without his knowledge (if this were real science, this experiment would never make it past the ethics committee) being a control subject, is by far a better healer than I am. I spend more energy looking up techniques, but he makes less mistakes than me, and doesn’t panic and freeze up the way I do. When it comes to choosing a paladin for exploratory fights, he is the obvious choice.

Once your priorities are covered, though, there’s nothing wrong with taking your art to the next level and squeezing extra out of your character.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Holy Avenger to a freshly-pressed, new paladin. I’d like to see a new paladin healer master Beacon healing, Holy Power cycling and cooldown management before adding yet another CD. Once those are down, then by all means.

For your amusement, here is a list of my screw ups last night as I tried to fit the new technique into my routine:

1- On H-Jin’Rokh, dropped a fissure in the middle of raid.
2- On H-Horridon, almost got eaten by my pink dino (have really no idea how I survived that)
3- On H-Council, drowned in Quicksand
4- On H-Iron Council, got 3 stacks of flame lines, had to bubble, then had no bubble left to mask my inability to handle tornadoes. Also missed my pre-tornado Aura Mastery.

While on the average raid night, I earn no shortage of “that’s not good” and “Rykga, Rykga, Rykga“, the above aren’t mistakes I typically make (except for pre-tornado Aura Mastery. I always screw that one up.)

But enough chitchat. Here are the preliminary results of my healing with Holy Avenger experiement. (Also keep in mind that I was very clumsy with the technique. Imagine what this would look like if my CD timing were perfected!)

(more…)

WoW… Oh hei! I still play that!

June 14, 2013

You know you’ve fallen out of the loop when you come across lists of Holy Paladin bloggers… and your name is nowhere to be found. Which is fair enough – I haven’t written anything substantial since that guide from two patches ago, which I never even polished up. It’s just. That. Time. Goes by. So fast. SO FAST. Didn’t I write that last guide post YESTERDAY? OMG.

But have no fear! Newcomer bloggers Paladiner and Lucy have got you covered, especially when it comes to Heroic Mode info. Super busy Getsu also finds the time to post some Holy Paladin thoughts as well (I complain that I can’t update because I’m busy, but he’s like 200 times busier than me and still finds time for Holy Pally philosophy /shame).

And if Heroic raiding and patch notes aren’t your thing, the awesome Megacode is still going strong with his regular podcasts on Normal modes, basics and other must-knows. He’s also done some fantastic interviews with high profile players. (Speaking of Megacode’s podcasts, I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say it yet, but I wasn’t told not to say anything and I’m super super excited so I’m going to say it anyway: he has another round table coming up! I can’t wait! I think we should do like a holy paladin cafe once a month, where a bunch of us grab mics, a bunch more get into the chat channel and we just pally talk. No prep, no editing. Just glorious, glorious pally talk. Would anyone else be interested in that?)

So we’re digesting 5.3 sideways, 5.4 is on the horizon (already? WTF) yet all I want to talk about are Bioware games and nerd conventions. That’s just how I am. But still, I will not be left out during these kinda-difficult-but-we’ve-been-through-worse Holy Paladin times.

5.3 and The Great Mastery and T14 4-pc Nerf of 2013

Of Tier Gear 14 and 15

Unlike most, I made the switch from T14 4pc to T15 as soon as I had enough T15 to get a 2pc. The reasoning was that my T14 gear came from a mix of LFR and Normal mode while my T15 was nice and shiny Normal and Heroic stamped.

I experimented by switching back and forth, and once I got used to both, I could get roughly equal numbers. T14, for me, was all about the EF blanketing, while T15 lets me go crazy with Holy Radiance. (Holy Radiancing – something I know many of my fellows are ticked off about. But what can you do? Perhaps it’s just our overachieving tanks, but it seems like the only T15 fight where we need any kind of tank healing assignments is Heroic Mags and MAYBE SOMETIMES Heroic Council. For everything else, there’s Holy Radiance.) As I shifted toward T15 and got deeper in heroic content, I found that my old T14 set just didn’t have the mana regen necessary for today’s modern boss fights. So off to the vendor we went.

Paladiner suggests skipping the T15 4pc. His experience with specific fights doesn’t reflect my own, probably because he runs with a different healer team makeup, and, more likely, he does 10s while I do 25s. But! As stubborn as I am about keeping my shiny 4pc, I do agree that the extra stat bonus from an upgrade from normal-mode T15 piece to a heroic (or better, a Heroic THUNDERFORGED!) non-T15 piece would probably give your healing more oomph than a boost to Beacon.

There are some exceptions – my copally and I cross-beacon on Heroic Mags and we each get a lot of healing out of it. A lot. While we don’t seem to get the same kind of Beacon numbers on Heroic Council, I suspect that when we switch to direct healing Frostbite targets, our Beacons (again, cross-beaconing) have made other healers lives much easier. Otherwise, it seems the other fights in Throne are more raid damage typed, where extra Mastery and extra Spirit to support shiny Holy Radiances would go further than a boost to Beacon.

That said, I creepy stalked some of the highest HPS pallies in the US, and the vast majority (but not all!) were using T15 4pc. Note, though, their healing situations might not reflect that of the average raid. Plus they might swap gear around between fights.

And, what else? Oh yes, Mastery nerfs. Ouch.

Mastery Nerfs and healing styles

I checked my logs after the nerf and I half expected to find myself booted from my guild. It hurt my healing that bad. My copally was healing just fine, though, so I think the numbers may have had more to do with me than with the nerf. I tried harder the next week, and while I couldn’t get to where I was before the nerf, I did manage to not be rock bottom of the meters on every fight.

A couple of pallies asked me if they should change their stat priorities given the changes to Mastery. I don’t do much experimenting with things that extreme – but if anyone wants to give it a try, I’d be happy to look at the results.

I went to World of Logs again and went through a dozen of the highest ranking paladins (for 25 Heroic, mind you) and Mastery was a unanimous priority.

Another unanimous trait was the healing style of Holy Shock/Holy Radiance to generate Holy Power, followed by Eternal Flame blanketing. I swear most of them don’t even have Light of Dawn in their spell book.

(I try to heal like that, but apparently I fail pretty hard. In a fight 90 seconds shorter, Envy’s Finella gets more than twice the Holy Radiances and EFs out than I can!)

A strategy they use and that I hadn’t come across in discussions, is to take Holy Avenger (remember Holy Avenger, the level 75 talent?) and use it on CD. Combine with Divine Favor and Avenging Wrath for extra sexiness.

Simple and brilliant. For 18 seconds, you can get a lot of badass Eternal Flames out. Then you have 72 to 102 seconds to generate EFs the old fashion way.

I’m going to try this tonight.

As for meter rankings for the pros since the nerf, it seems that those pallies who were topping the meters before are now only slightly behind their Disc Priest buddies. Their healing environment is kinda different than the average raider (they have less healers, which spreads damage differently, and their healing aims more for numbers than functionality and bare survival), but the rest of us still have no excuse.

5.4, Flex Raiding, Minor Changes and Beyond

The Holy Paladin of the Future

I was happy to find no trace of those Eternal Flame nerfs everyone’s been panicking about. (Those aren’t hidden somewhere, are they? I’m scared!)

Our class changes are pretty minor. Paladiner’s wringed as much analysis out of our set bonuses as possible. Dedralie at Healiocentric has some discussion on our general changes on her blog as well.

If you want a TL;DR of our predicted changes, here it is: some wording on talents and some tiny number adjustments on Hand of Purity. At the time, I doubt anything will actually be noticeable in game. (Other than, obviously, T16 gear.)

And Flex Raiding!

Flex Raiding

Why is everyone so upset about Flex Raiding?

I think my guildy had the best reaction to the announcement: “Will I be getting an achievement for Flex Raiding?

I can see how a third lockout would be annoying to guilds in the upper-but-not-raiding-24-hours-a-day bracket. Even so, it only takes a couple of weeks for these guilds before everyone has everything they need from pre-normal raid lockouts, weeks where most of us are chained to our computers anyway. And adding a third lockout would probably reduce the number of weeks it takes to get saturated with pre-normal gear.

Personally, I’m super happy about this. I doubt, however, I’ll use it much. For me, I think, Flex raiding is coming too late. For the longest time, I wished there were some way I could help my off server friends with current tier fights without having to built a raiding alt. I also wished there was a way we could have scaling fights, so we didn’t spent more time looking for pugs than actually playing. By now, though, most of my off servers friends have scattered. I’ve lost touch with too many of them and don’t feel comfortable sending a “hey, wanna Flex Raid with me?“. But still, I’m happy the opportunity will be there, should I get the call.

It might also be a way for me to connect with my own guild. During regular raids, I still freeze up whenever someone talks to me (and with my fluttery attention span, it’s very hard for me to concentrate on the raid and chat to guildies at the same time). I tried running LFR with them, but it’s not the same with a bunch of a strangers in our group. So even though I’ve been in the guild for months and am quite happy (the raids are efficient, fair and entertaining, what more could I ask for?), I’m not as engaged as I usually am. Flex raiding would perfect for drunken, no stress guild fun.

What else is coming up in 5.4? Virtual realms?

Virtual Realms or Are we really just looking for an excuse to overreact?

I play on Tichondrius, which, I think, has become the most populated realm after last week’s character service discount. Why everyone wants to move to a server where there are up to 40 minute queues in the evening and where you have to get up at 5 am to do dailies if you don’t want to spend more time getting ganked than playing the game, I have no idea. But long story short, I don’t think I’ll be affected by virtual realms.

As for everyone else, it sounds like virtual realms will help somewhat with the challenges of playing on a low pop server, namely guild recruiting and finding fun things to do with strangers on offnights. Perhaps I’m missing something huge, but I can’t see where the problem is.

There! A WoW post at last!

I think that sums my recent thoughts on the game.

I do still play, I assure you. Cadenza is now 7/13H in 25s. Thankfully, Throne of Thunder calls for waaaay less twitchy movement than, um, that other dungeon who’s name I apparently blocked from my memory. I still die enough to worry about getting kicked. Every time I see an in-game mail from my GM I get all “oh noes!“. (It’s usually just a shipment of raid food, though. Why he does this, I’m not sure. I wonder if his food Auction House alt has a name similar to Rykga and I’m getting them by accident. Or perhaps it’s a quiet hint that I need more spirit. But, you know, I won’t turn down free raid food.)

The mic port on my desktop blew so now I can’t talk on Vent or Skype or Mumble. Not sure if there’s a way to fix that without having to change my whole motherboard. (While I did build this computer with my own two hands, I’m still pretty clueless about how everything fits together.) I’m quite sad about it but not enough yet to dare rip my tower apart. The laptop still works, anyway.

And, um, I’m really trying to find things to write about here. It feels like when I write to my mom: “Dear Mom, I am still alive. I work a lot. Sometimes I go hiking but not very often because it rains all the time. We got snow last week too. I went to the SPCA this morning and walked a dog. I made soup in my slow cooker overnight and it tasted funny. Do you know what I am doing wrong? My computer is being buggy again. You should try Granville Island Brewery’s Summer Mingler pack. It’s quite delicious. That’s all I can think of. Love, Jenn.”

Alright, time to shut off the computer so my eyes don’t hurt for raid. Talk to you all again in like a month!

Holy Paladin Notes for Throne of Thunder: Tortos

April 10, 2013

So. I’ve had the chance to see Throne of the Thunder a few more times since part 1. I started writing part 2, but got as far as Tortos before my blogging juice ran out. After sitting for 3 days on a Tortos write up, I figured I might as well post it. I can do the next fights, well, if I ever get a day off work or something.

(Also realized that April 7 was my fourth bloggiversary! 4 years since I wrote my first post here. It feels just like yesterday, yet like an eternity at the same time. So much has happened since then, so much, so fast! A huge heartfelt thank you to everyone who’s ever read this little corner of the internet, linked to my posts, commented, offered me advice, RTed me on Twitter, hung out with me, invited me to their blog or podscast, got drunk with me or put up with me in any way. And a special cheers to all the guildies and friends over the years who’ve been such good sports about being featured as characters on this blog. You guys are the best – whether it was by or against your will. Here’s to 4 more years of being big grown up kids.)

Tortos

Icy Veins overall strat: http://www.icy-veins.com/tortos-detailed-strategy-wow

Predominate damage type: Physical (Though the raid will smacked by Nature damage from Rockfall)

Suggested Spec and Glyphs: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#l!^N|cnr

Track on your frames: None!

CD timings:
Devotion Aura – If you use it right after the first Quake Stomp, you can probably fit it in again near the end.
Guardian of Ancient Kings – Might be able to fit in twice if you use it right away. You’ll definitely want it off CD for the end.
Divine Favor/Avenging Wrath – You can use them on CD, or right before (or after) a Quake Stomp.
Divine Shield/Hand of Protection – Can be used to evade the stun from Quake Stomp. Hand of Protection can be used on a co-healer while you have Forbearance. Nice for 10s groups who 2-heal.
Divine Protection – Can be use for Quake Stomp or in combination with Hand of Sacrifice on the tanks, if Glyphed. If not Glyphed, use after Quake Stomps.

Move if: You are standing in swirly circles (Rockfall) or a spinning turtle is heading toward you.

Positioning: Kinda spread out. You’ll be moving and dodging most of the fight.

Discussion:

Quake Stomp (physical damage) happens about every 50 seconds. Before Quake Stomp, Rockfall will hit about once every 10 seconds, after Quake Stomp, it’ll be twice per second for 8 seconds, hence all the post-Quake Stomp cooldown suggestions. Toward the very end of the fight, Tortos kind of goes nuts with his little turtles so you’ll like to have some CDs available for that.

For glyphs, I opted for Glyph of Divine Protection to use during Quake Stomp and to help with Hand of Sacrifice. If you’d prefer to use Divine Protection to ease Rockfall’s Nature damage, you can pick another favorite Glyph.

Talentwise, Pursuit of Justice seems the most logical speed increase since you’re constantly running short distances. I haven’t actually tried Burden of Guilt, but I’m told that it can help slow the spinning turtles. I prefer Eternal Flame for level 45, but if you always use Light of Dawn on this fight, you could consider Sacred Shield. Clemency is nice for extra Hands of Protection, though Unbreakable Spirit works well too for more selfish healers (like me). Since there is constant damage throughout the fight, I’d go with Divine Purpose. And, Holy Prism is helpful since most of the raid will be spread out (though on 25 Light’s Hammer still does pretty good healing when used on the melee).

Happy turtle hunting!

This Guild has No Tabard! (Or, I couldn’t think of a title)

March 27, 2013

I keep writing these posts in my head but promise myself I’ll post them once I post all the other things I want to write about. Then I go do something like valor cap. By then I’m out of time.

It’s been, what, six weeks now since I joined Cadenza? Two of those weeks (which happened to be the two first weeks of patch 5.2 – worst timing ever but beggars can’t be choosers) I couldn’t raid due to visiting family, and since I hadn’t seen family in almost two years, putting family first was the obvious choice.

This guild has no tabard!

This guild has no tabard!

On a tangent, having families, especially moms, around is both awesome and exhausting! She kept doing my dishes, laughed at all my jokes and helped me cook. Having another person in the house, though, was a lot harder on me than I expected. I have no idea how some (most?) people live their entire LIVES with other people! By the end of the visit, I was falling asleep everywhere and couldn’t talk coherently. Took me two 13-hour sleeps to recover!

But anyway, this platform is more for WoW talk than for analyzing my sleeping habits.

So I joined Cadenza six weeks ago. The way it happened was kind of surreal. I was on Twitter QQing about how I wasn’t getting enough raid time with Conquest and how I was mockingly looking for a guild that lets me raid. (My actual plans were to wait until after my mom’s visit, reassess the situation with Conquest and shop for a new home if it hadn’t improved.) And, well, sometimes complaining is an effective way to a solve a problem. I got a DM from Theck (yes, Theck) who let me know that his guild had recently lost of couple of healers to real life.

Now I knew of Cadenza. After Occasional Excellence disintegrated, I really wanted to find another (alliance) progressive 25 guild with a two nights/week schedule. So I had checked out the guilds of that demographic. All, like, 4 of them.

During my post-OE searching, I didn’t think I could make Cadenza’s schedule (they raid Fri-Sat – Saturdays are ok, we close early that day, but I didn’t think I could take Friday nights off work). Plus, I figured the break I was forced to take from raiding (due vacation then to all hell breaking loose at work) would have set me too far back on progression (which was probably true). And (because scheduling and being behind on progression aren’t enough), they were a step up from OE, and while I performed ok in OE, I was far from being one of their stars.

Then flash forward to the DM from Theck. By then, work had settled down. I could think of a way to tweek the schedule to give me Friday nights off. I was decently progressed. I wasn’t sure if I had the talent to make the cut, but you know what? If you spend your life limiting yourself by saying “I can’t do this“, “I’m not good enough for this“, “My health/natural abilities/etc aren’t up to par” without even trying, you end up becoming on of those sad middle aged people who amount to nothing and pass their slow, agonizing days posting tacky “motivational” messages on Facebook.

I wanted to raid, I wanted to play with this guild and I really don’t want to post cheesey crap on Facebook for the rest of my life. So I took a deep breath and transferred to Tichondrius.

Six weeks later, I haven’t passed my trial but they haven’t told me to leave and never come back either.

And the raids?

The raids, they are freaking amazing.

I was expecting a guild similar to OE. After all, similar schedule, similar progressiveness, similar demographic of players.

But no. Not similar to OE at all. I like both (as long as I’m treated fairly and the raids are good, I’m usually happy, I guess), but while OE was extremely structured, disciplined and followed every decent guild-leading advice in the book, Cadenza’s raiding environment goes against anything you’d expect from a guild with so much progression in so little time. There are no forums to discuss in, the loot system is “whisper the raid leader if you want anything” (extremely efficient, only downside, really, is that often people try to out-generous each other and all the excess passing wastes time), there are no dedicated breaks (if you need time, you just ask and go) and because we raid weekends, raid end time is just a suggestion. They don’t even have a tabard! (I suppose they never stooped so low as to spam “we have guild bank and tabard!” in trade/general to recruit back in the day.)

But it works.

I was curious as to how a high stress all the time ultra perfectionist freak like me would react to that kind of environment. So far, it’s been almost therapeutic. Since I work a fast-paced, intense job where every detail matters, the simplicity of the guild structure is a breath of fresh air.

Oh and we killed so many bosses! So many bosses! It was so exciting.

It’s funny how it happens. Right when I had decided I was satisfied with Conquest-level middle of road progression, I suddenly get to the opportunity to raid at an even higher level. It’s not what I expected to happen, but I’ll take it. I’ll definitely take it!

And the Insecure Nervewreck?

In case you are wondering, I’m still uber shy. I thought I had gotten over it – after all when I went back to Conquest, I felt at home almost immediately. Apparently it was just the familiarity of Conquest.

My first few raids with Cadenza, I took a lot of deep breaths and fought the urge to run away. I missed Conquest (as much as I had complained about the healing environment!), I missed OE (which, of course, doesn’t exist anymore so there’s no going back there), I questioned my whole raider identity. Who was I, I thought to myself, to believe that I had what it takes to join a group of strangers who play better than me? Silly, silly pretentious girl, I mocked myself.

The team was kind to me. I was briefed on raid strats, on how to ask for loot and on raid customs. I was offered food and flasks. Anything I would logically need, they gave to me right away. Yet, what I was more urgently stressing about was not something I was willing admit. What was eating a big nasty hole in my belly… was…well…heh… It was not knowing what to say when I entered healer chat. Should I say hi? Should I say thank you? Should I just say nothing? Yes, people. That is how my pathetic mind works.

If you think that’s bad, you should have heard the discussion in my head when I had to remind my raid leader that I would be taking two weeks off. There’s no signout forum. Should I just whisper him? Which of his toons should I whisper him on? What if he’s busy? Should I say something on Vent instead? It took me about a week to decide to just send him an in-game mail on his main raiding character.

Yep. I may have grown as a person and has a player, but the insecure nervewreck from nearly four years ago has not grown at all.

And now?

I mentioned earlier that I haven’t passed my trial yet. My fears that I would make more mistakes and learn slower than every one else? They ended up being founded. I think I keep up healing-wise, but on actual execution I’m clearly behind the curve.

All those slow people I’ve ever rolled my eyes at or lost patience with? Karma came around and suddenly I feel like I’m one of those people.

I haven’t been kicked yet though, and until they kick me, I’ll keep showing up for raid.

I hear the word “awareness” a lot. It’s rarely awareness (in the early raids, it was sometimes – at first I physically and mentally couldn’t handle 4-6 hours of concentrating after a tough day at work, but practice makes perfect and last raid I managed almost 6 hours before reaching the end of my focus). If only it were so easy to fix as turning off the TV or music, or not getting drunk during raids. (I raid in complete silence because I know concentration is a problem for me. And while I love to drink during raids, I’ve avoided fueling my raids with alcohol since joining Cadenza.) No, it’s not usually awareness. Usually, I know I’m getting hit. I also almost always know how I died. (I always use my combat log.) It’s the reaction time and dexterity that I’m lacking. Which I suppose I could improve by doing a lot of BGs. Yet the only way I could really find time for BGs is either to ignore VP (bad) or quit my job (badder).

I’m at peace though. At this point, I’ve become attached to my guildies. I really enjoy the raids. Every now and again, I even type something in /raid or /g! I had a long chat with the other holy paladin in the guild and got all excited about making a friend. Even more, Logan, Conquest bro and of Leetsauced fame, joined me around my third week, which really helped me relax during raids. It’s been wonderful having a friend going through the trenches with me, someone to exchange triumphs/frustrations/remarks with.

If they do eventually tell me that I’m just not on par, I’ll be sad to leave, but I’ll be grateful for the experience. While OE’s raids taught me to wring out all the healing my paladin can handle, Cadenza’s raids are teaching me focus and precise execution. And I’m sure having a lot of fun, which, in video games, is really what matters.

A Type Out of my Notes for the First Part of Throne of Thunder

March 27, 2013

Today on Twitter, ‘mogging artist (and holy paladin!) Mia (from Mogalicious Mia) asked me whether I’d be writing about holy paladining one’s way through Throne of Thunder.

I’m always up for a challenge so I said “sure, why not!

Obviously there’s a reason I should not be writing tips to Throne bosses. Notably that I missed the first two weeks of patch 5.2 due to my mom visiting (as guilty as I felt for not raiding, I would have felt even guiltier about ignoring my mother whom I hadn’t seen in two years) and that by the time I was ready to go again, my guild was just wizzing through most of the fights, with me not knowing too much what was going on. I haven’t even seen Jin’Rokh on normal. I can write all about wiping on heroic (my raid did eventually get him down, but it was while I was busy performing my bench duties) or winging it on LFR, but normal mode is all educated guessing for me.

Still want to read my notes?

If you haven’t left yet, here’s a nice and tidy (IMO) version of my raid notebook scribblings for the first three bosses. If nobody throws icky tomatoes at me, maybe I’ll do write ups for the other Throne sets as well.

Jin’Rokh

Icy Veins overall strat: http://www.icy-veins.com/jin-rokh-the-breaker-detailed-strategy-wow

Predominate damage type: Magic (Nature)

Suggested Spec and Glyphs: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#lP]|Inr

Track on your frames: Static Wound (optional)

CD timings:
Devotion Aura – Half the pallies in the raid can chain it during Lightning Storms 1 and 3, the other half can do #2.
Guardian of Ancient Kings – Can use twice if your raid is really bad outside of Lightning Storm. If the only time you really take damage is during Lightning Storm, then you can use it once, your choice of Storm. (Depending on your timing, you may be able to use it right after the first Thundering Throw then during Lightning Storm #3)
Divine Favor/Avenging Wrath – I popped one shortly after the pull and the other after the first Thundering Throw, then as they came up. Alternatively, you can use them when your raid takes spiky damage, notably during Lightning Storm.
Divine Shield – (Heroic mode only) Consider bubbling halfway through a Lightning Storm so you stop moving and cast some yummy heals. Pairs well with Guardian. If you’re specced into Unbreakable Spirit, you may be able to squeeze this in on Storms 1 and 3.
Divine Protection – (Heroic mode only) With my weak gear, I found this was the only way I could survive dispelling Ionization on myself. (Sometimes I’d die anyway – Ionization sometimes ticks twice when dispelled, not sure why.) When there’s no Ionization coming up, this is a good one to use on cooldown.

Move if: You are targeted by Focused Lightning, someone is dragging a Focused Lightning through you (I died to this a lot and felt very stupid), you need to dispel Ionization (heroic mode only) off yourself, Lightning Storm is about to start.

Positioning: Grouped up on the left side of the pool (if dropping Focused Lightning on the left). Lightning Storm is probably grouped up on normal (not sure!) and more spread out on Heroic (easier to dodge lightning balls).

Discussion: I went with what I would call my “default” glyph set. Talent wise, I hesitated between Speed of Light and Pursuit of Justice, but in the end I found that occasions where I had to run were far enough apart that I did fine with Speed of Light. You don’t really need a speed buff anyway, but it does help if you’re distracted and need to prevent an oopsie in a hurry. Next relevant tier, I went with Eternal Flame because I almost always go with Eternal Flame. I suppose you could take Sacred Shield if it’s more your style. Next tier gets interesting. I did my attempts with Hand of Purity for Static Wound, but when I forgot to cast it I noticed zero difference. That said, if your tanks are going squish, definitely track Static Wound and use Hand of Purity. Otherwise, reduced cooldowns, especially for Divine Protection are very nice. Next tier, I’ve seen Holy Avenger recommended, and I would agree if your team is having trouble surviving Lightning Storm. Personally, since you can only really used it on Lightning Storms 1 and 3, I wasn’t willing to give up bonus Eternal Flames from Divine Purpose. (Next time I do heroic Jin’Rokh, though, I will try Holy Avenger.) And finally, I’ve only really tried Light’s Hammer. Since everyone should be grouped up during Fludity phases (and on normal mode, I imagine Lightning Storms are grouped) it is the logical choice.

Horridon

Icy Veins overall strat: http://www.icy-veins.com/horridon-detailed-strategy-wow

Predominate damage type: Physical (tanks), Physical (raid, less progressive teams), Magic (raid, more progressive teams)

Suggested Spec and Glyphs: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#lTN|cnr

Track on your frames: Triple Puncture. (Also, if Magic/Disease debuffs and Stone Gaze if they don’t show up by default – these are to be dispelled, dispelled, dispelled!)

CD timings:
Devotion Aura – Can probably squeeze it in 2-3 times. All troll phases deal significant magic damage, so use it wherever your team seems to be struggling.
Guardian of Ancient Kings – Can usually use twice. Depending on how your team takes damage, maybe use it during troll phase 1, then near the end. Adapt as needed.
Divine Favor/Avenging Wrath – Might as well use on cooldown.
Divine Shield – Use when you want to hide a screw up.
Divine Protection – Can probably fit it in once or twice per troll phase. Use whenever big damage goes out, or (only if Glyphed) when Hand of Sacrifice is going on the tanks.
Hand of Sacrifice – Sexy for tank damage. Can be especially helpful if cast right before Triple Puncture if the tank has a lot of stacks. (Use Glyphed Divine Protection on yourself.)
Hand of Protection – Can help non-pally tanks remove Triple Puncture while Horridon is stunned. Warn your tank if you plan to use this.

Move if: You are standing in Sand Traps, in Living Poison, near Frozen Orbs (they weren’t cast by your mage), near a Lightning Nova Totem, in front or behind Horridon, you are targeted by Charge. In other words, move if you are standing in shit that makes your health drop.

Positioning: On the side of the boss. Not in front or behind him. On the fourth troll phase, you’ll want to spread out by 5 yards as much as possible.

Discussion: I opted for Glyph of Divine Protection since I like Hand of Sacrifice a lot on this fight. Less progressive teams may also like this glyph to help mitigate melee damage that might occur for mobs that aren’t picked up fast enough. Someone who takes a lot of magic damage might want to leave out this glyph. On the talent front, the first tier doesn’t matter. In the second tier, Fist of Justice can help interrupt/stun unruly adds. Third tier, whichever you like best. I opted for Eternal Flame, as usual. Fourth tier, Clemency is great for Hand of Sacrifice, and if you’re helping a tank remove his (or her) Triple Puncture stacks, Hand of Protection. Fifth tier, there aren’t really any major damage phases, so Divine Purpose is ok. Sixth tier, I’ve yet to try it, but I’ve heard wonders about Holy Prism.

Council of Elders

Icy Veins overall strat: http://www.icy-veins.com/council-of-elders-detailed-strategy-wow

Predominate damage type: Magic (all types)

Suggested Spec and Glyphs: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#lTN|pnr

Track on your frames: Ensnared/Entrapped, if not tracked by default (dispel or Hand of Freedom!), Frostbite (optional)

CD timings:
Devotion Aura – Especially useful during Sandstorm. Can also help during Frostbite. And Overloads (Kazra’jin).
Guardian of Ancient Kings – Can be used once. Or twice if you pop it really early in the fight.
Divine Favor/Avenging Wrath – Might as well use on cooldown.
Divine Shield – Can use to get rid of aggro on Living Sands. Or clear Frostbite (though I wouldn’t waste it on that unless you’re having a lot of trouble keeping yourself up).
Divine Protection – Good during Frostbite and Sandstorm for sure, but not crucial. Can save it for those phases, or use it on cooldown.

Move if: You’re standing on a Quicksand or on some grey smoke (Kazra’jin’s Reckless Charge). Also if you’re targeted by a Shadowed Loa Spirit (don’t let it come close to you!)

Positioning: Kind of spread out. You can group or spread for Frostbite depending on the strat you’re using.

Discussion: Constant raid damage with rare moving gives a lot of opportunity to use Glyph of Divine Plea, but Beacon of Light could work too (especially if your tanks like to die a lot). Or Battle Healer or Avenging Wrath. On the talent front, Fist of Justice is helpful for stunning Loas (or pesky Living Sands), Clemency is nice for Hand of Freedom (for those Ensared), Hand of Protection (if your squishies are being eaten by Living Sands) and Hand of Sacrifice (tanks usually appreciate). Hand of Purity can take the edge of Frostbite, but keep in mind that the 70% DoT reduction does not work. I haven’t tried Holy Prism, but I’m told that with the spreading on this fight, it is very effective.

Yay that’s part one!

With these helpful pointers you should at least be able to understand why your raid finder groups are wiping.

All my thanks to my references: Plus Heal, MMO Champion’s raid forum and Icy Veins Holy Paladin Throne of Thunder Tips. Also lots of love to the guilds Cadenza (25m progression), Conquest (25m moderate progression) and Team Sport (10m casual) whose “damage taken” log section I borrowed to see where different types of guilds were getting smacked hard.

Holy Pally 4eva Continued: 5.2 Excellent Gear List

March 5, 2013

EDIT: Fixed a few pieces now that 5.2 is out. List should be slightly more accurate.

Yay, it’s almost time for 5.2! (Or not yay – I could have used a few more weeks of Tier 14)

And even though I’m sure there are computer generated gear lists out there that could save me time, I compiled, BY HAND, a gear list for myself. Note the emphasis on the by hand part. My hand makes mistakes sometimes, so if the order is screwed up, or there’s a wonky link, I deeply apologize. I did double check the list before I posted, but every now and again, I miss things. If you point out a mistake, it will be my immense pleasure to fix it.

Note that I’m also writing this with PTR data so the databases are a little buggy and not all the items listed have known sources. I have full intentions of updating this once 5.2 is live for a bit, but we all know how I am with updating posts.

Stat Priority

I went with a loose stat priority of Spirit >/= Intellect > Mastery > Haste >/= Crit, assuming that 5.2 doesn’t dramatically change our playstyle. Nothing from the patch notes suggests a Holy Paladin stat revamp, but I have been surprised before.

Since healing isn’t black and white, the order of gear on the list isn’t the uber ultimate truth. Quite often, choosing the order I was going to put them in was a question of deciding between 10 extra Intellect in exchange for, oh, I dunno, 20 Mastery. Trinkets are particularly bad since 1)they’re so situational, and 2)there hasn’t been a ton of testing on them yet.

Tier 15

I’m not too sure what I think of the bonuses. Extra healing on Daybreak is interesting – I really enjoy playing with Daybreak during raids – but its actual effective healing isn’t that exciting. I don’t know how much effect buffing it will have. I’m also looking forward to trying out the 4 piece. Honestly, I don’t really miss the big Beacon transfers from days past, but extra transfers from Eternal Flame ticks (I’m an incorrigible Eternal Flame blanketer) and/or more flexibility when simultaneously healing two tanks could have some fun effects on healing assignments.

If aiming for the 4 piece, I would suggest going with the Helm, Shoulders, Legs and Gloves. I don’t like the itemization the Chest, not one bit. Other options would be the Gloves (Iceshatter Gauntlets are sexy. If I only I knew where they come from.) or the pants (Matter-Swapped Legplates are nice.).

More About This List

I should probably mention that I only listed gear with an ilevel of 522. The Raid Finder/Heroic/Thunderforged gear was mocking me so I ignored it. I figured listing normal mode gear should be enough to steer us all in the right direction. If normal mode gear drops off a specific boss, guess what boss the Raid Finder and Heroic versions drop from! As for gear below 522, I wasn’t overly interested in it and thus left it out. The only item that stood out to me was Dragonmaw, Reborn (available for Blacksmithing), an option for those who didn’t get lucky with Sha Touched weapons in LFR.

And with that, please enjoy the following copy-and-pasting headache.

Head

1- Lightning Emperor’s Headguard (Tier 15 – Twin Consorts – 11th Boss)
2- Crown of Potentiated Birth (Ji-Kun – 6th Boss)
3- Haunted Steel Headcover (Blacksmithing)

Neck

1- Necklace of the Terra-Cotta Mender (Throne of Thunder Drop)
2- Horridon’s Tusk Fragment (Horridon – 2nd Boss)
3- Soul Prism of Lei-Shen (Lei-Shen – 12th Boss)
4- Choker of Stygimolochy (Oondasta – World Boss)
5- Passionfire Choker (Twin Consort – 11th Boss)
6- Mender’s Battletags (Shadow Pan Assault Rep – Neutral)

Shoulders

1- Lightning Emperor’s Mantle (Tier 15 – Iron Qon – 10th Boss)
2- Spaulders of Primordial Growth (Primordius – 8th Boss)
3- Shoulderguards of Potentiation (Shado Pan Assault Rep – Exalted)
4- Reconstructed Holy Shoulderplates (Durumu – 7th Boss)

Back/Cloak

1- Drape of Booming Nights (Jin’rokh the Breaker – 1rst Boss)
2- Dreamweaver Drape (Shado Pan Assault Rep – Honored)
3- Constantly Accelerating Cloak (Dark Animus – 9th Boss)
4- Shimmershell Cape (Tortos – 4th Boss)
5- Deadly Glare Cape (Unknown – probably Throne of Thunder Zone Drop)

Chest

1- Scorched Spiritfire Drape (Oondasta – World Boss)
2- Hauberk of Gleaming Fire (Shado Pan Assault Rep – Revered)
3- Lei-Shen’s Grounded Carapace (Lei Shen – 12th Boss)
4- Ionized Yojamban Carapace (Jin’rokh the Breaker – 1rst Boss)
5- Lightning Emperor’s Breastplate (Tier 15 – Dark Animus)

Bracers

1- Softscar Armplates (Shado Pan Assault Rep – Friendly)
2- Bonemender Bracers (Primordius – 8th Boss)
3- Armplates of the Vanquished Abomination (Horridon – 2nd Boss)

Gloves

1- Iceshatter Gauntlets (Durumu – 7th Boss)
2- Lightning Emperor’s Gloves (Tier 15- Council of Elders, also Nalak – World Boss)
3- Tortos’ Shellseizers (Tortos – 4th Boss)
4- Touch of Soothing Mists (Shado Pan Assault – Honored)
5- Skullsmashing Gauntlets (Oondasta – World Boss)

Belt

1- Waistplate of Channeled Mending (Shado Pan Assault – Revered)
2- Refreshing Abalone Girdle (Tortos – 4th Boss)
3- Waistband of Furious Stomping (Oondasta – World Boss)
4- Abandoned Zandalari Greatbelt (Throne of Thunder Drop)

Pants

1- Matter-Swapped Legplates (Dark Animus – 9th Boss)
2- Lightning Emperor’s Greaves (Tier 15- Ji-Kun – 6th Boss, also Nalak – World Boss)
3- Legguards of Renewal (Shado Pan Assault – Honored)
4- Legplates of Reemergence (Durumu – 7th Boss)

Boots

1- Ice-Scored Treads (Megaera – 5th Boss)
2- Haunted Steel Greaves (Blacksmithing)
3- Vaultwalker Sabatons (Throne of Thunder Drop)

Ring

1- Petrified Eye of the Basilisk (Horridon – 2nd Boss)
2- Durumu’s Captive Eyeball (Durumu – 7th Boss)
3- Ring of Shamuru (Oondasta – World Boss)
4- Ring of the Shado-Pan Assault (Shado Pan Assault Rep – Friendly)
5- Ro’shak’s Remembrance (Iron Qon – 10th Boss)
6- Eye of Oondasta (Oondasta – World Boss)
7- Signet of the Shado-Pan Assault (Shado Pan Assault Rep – Friendly)

Trinket

EDIT: There has been some analysis done on the trinkets. At the time of this update I haven’t read into details, but check out Therya’s 5.2 Healing Trinket Compendium.

Intellect with mana regen:
1- Horridon’s Last Gasp (Horridon – 2nd Boss)
2- Soothing Talisman of the Shado-Pan Assault (Shado Pan Assault Rep – Friendly)

Which of these two is better will depend on the internal cooldown on Horridon’s Last Gasp (see Cianxo’s comment on the Wowhead page). Either way, the raiding trinket has an advantage over the rep trinket in that it procs on its own and doesn’t require you to remember to hit it whenever it’s up. (Probably not an issue for advanced players, but often problematic for new healers.)

Spirit with damage mitigation:
1- Stolen Relic of Zuldazar (Primordius – 8th Boss)
2- Inscribed Bag of Hydra-Spawn (Megaera – 5th Boss)

At first glance, the Relic seems leagues ahead of the Bag (28018 damage, really?) but, again, it’ll depend on how often the Bag and the Blessing of Zuldazar each proc. It’ll also depend on whether the Bag only procs on single-target direct heals or on all heals, including Eternal Flame ticks and AoE heals.

Straight throughput:
1- Lightning-Imbued Chalice (Lei-Shen – 12th Boss)

While I probably wouldn’t use this as my first choice on mana-intensive progression fights, I’m really excited to play around with it during farm raids or in LFR.

Weapon

1- Torall, Rod of the Shattered Throne (Lei-Shen – 12th Boss)
2- Soulblade of the Breaking Storm (Jin’rokh the Breaker – 1rst Boss)
3- Jerthud, Graceful Hand of the Savior (Jin’rokh the Breaker – 1rst Boss)

5.2 also introduces an alternative to a One-Hand Weapon and Shield with the 2-Hand Caster Mace, Invocation of the Dawn. The lack of Spirit makes me cringe, especially with Shield of Twinned Despair being so sexy (though like all holy pally shields, it probably doesn’t really exist). But! On the bright side, if you do want to give the 2-Hander a try, you’ll only have Druids and Shaman to compete with.

Shield

1- Shield of Twinned Despair (Twin Consort – 11th Boss)
2- Tortos’ Discarded Shell (Tortos – 4th Boss)

If you like stealing candy from children and making your non-shield wearing co-healers (and casting clothie raidmates) sad, Orb of Arcing Lightning, a random Throne of Thunder drop, is a passable offhand, and Lei-Shen’s Orb of Command (Lei-Shen – 12th Boss) can do if you’re desperate. Or if you really hate your co-healers (and casting clothie raidmates).

Friendly Neighbourly Update

February 13, 2013

I think I used up my periodic word quota. Sorry. No exciting paladin stuff for a bit. I do plan on updating the Holy Pally 4eva series while I’m in the city next week, though. That’s right, I need to drive 3 whole hours, all the way to civilization JUST so I can drink delicious coffee in a trendy coffee shop while polishing up my blog.

But, even when my brain is fried and I’m out of words, I still like to write things, so here we are. I’m writing things.

A Mood Lightening Body Pillow, Just for Vik

My own mood-lightening body pillow, just for Vik!

First off, I wanted to apologize to the people who commented on my last post – I normally answer most comments, but I didn’t get a chance for those. I still read them all and appreciated them, big thanks to you kind people as well as to those of you who left me feedback in other ways.

Those who asked for more World of Logs posts, you will be served. I have a few in mind. In the meanwhile, if you check out the right side of my blog, you’ll see a lot of orange links. Scroll down enough and you’ll find some of my past World of Logs posts. The featured fights are outdated, but WoL really doesn’t change that much so there’s still useful info there. You can also check out Jasyla’s guide to evaluating Holy Pallies with World of Logs (I don’t know how she does it, but she always manages to achieve levels of clarity and conciseness I only dream of). And if you’re really enjoying log parsing, Jasyla has guides to evaluating most other healing classes too.

In other Holy Paladin related news, if you haven’t come across it yet, the Holy Paladin Roundtable is up and available for your listening pleasure! It was an absolute blast to record and Megacode, Gina, Pardeux and Getsu are just overflowing with knowledge and good advice. (I’m there too, but I’m like the n00b that everyone else explains stuff too. Makes for an entertaining dynamic.)

Public Service Announcement: Looking for a friendly 25s guild?

Awhile back, I was complaining on Twitter about how hard it is to find 25m guilds as a healer. It’s like every one is bursting at the seams!

Shortly after, I received a Tweet that Ambermist‘s 25s guild was looking for healers. They weren’t quite what I was looking for and by the time I got back to my computer, it was the next day and it would have been weird to answer. But! In case you are looking for a friendly, laid back (I think!) 25s guild, I suggest you check out Chi Cerca Trova. I don’t know if they’re still looking, but it never hurts to try!

My Own Guild Situation

So things didn’t work out with Conquest. It was disappointing. I really, really wanted it to work, but in life, when you’re given a hard lesson, you better learn from it. Last time I was in Conquest I learned that there are situations I can’t control and that I should walk away before making an utter fool of myself.

Conquest is good people. Their guildies have been in and out of my life for what? 3, 4 years now? They’ve always welcomed me to their raids, their meetups and their Mumble channels. And no one, no one, makes me laugh like my Conquest guildies. I think that when it comes to raiding, though, their values don’t quite match mine.

It’s not a question of right and wrong – seriously, for a guild to have existed for so long and have survived what they’ve survived, they’re clearly doing it right!

But, sadly, for me it came down to the age old debate of friends vs raiding.

This time around, the issue was way, like waaaay too many healers, and the lack of a decent benching system. While the “official” rule was “best raid comp/performances for each fight”, reality was more like “random raid comp/performances for each fight and one spot is always taken, whether necessary or not, by the healing lead.” No matter how well I did, I spent more time on the bench than in the raid (as did most of the other healers), which, for someone who spends all day looking forward to her raid, is pretty tragic. And, as a nice way to put it, the healing lead and I weren’t compatible.

I complained a lot. I brainstormed solutions. I lost a lot of sleep. I gave the healing lead a hard time. I considered going ret. I considered going PvP. I kept my eyes open for heroic 25m Alliance guilds that raided on schedule compatible with my work.

Then out of the blue, I received a pitch on Twitter from a guild who had just lost some healers to real life.

A few hours later, I had interviewed with them and switched my work schedule around to meet their raid times.

Their standards are considerably higher than anything I’m used to and I’m don’t know if I’ll pass my trial – which is why I’m being vague with details – but I’m sure ready to find out.

I’m excited to see where this goes. If I fail my trial, I’m thinking I’ll learn to PvP. I love learning, and I’d have plenty to blog about. But, really, I’m praying that I won’t nosedive into, oh I dunno, a Wind Bomb on Wind Lord (which I have only done once in the many times I have done that fight!), and that I’ll find a compatible guild to spend a good chunk (if not all) of the rest of my WoW playing time with.

Preparing a Fight with World of Logs

January 28, 2013

When I want to really prepare for a fight, I don’t watch dozens of videos, I don’t compare various guides. Nope. When I want to go above and beyond to prepare for a fight, I go to World of Logs.

It can be more time consuming, but the depth of information is priceless. Plus, for those of us who need to apply knowledge in order to learn (if you were the kid who taught themselves math in high school by doing the exercises before reading the theory, WoL fight preparation is for you!), I find it’s the only way to get a solid idea of the fight before the pull.

Since I’ve been studying WoL a lot lately (and spamming posting my findings on my guild forums), I figured I’d share my approach, in case some of you would like to give this method a try.

Note that my strategy for tackling logs varies a bit from fight to fight depending on whether I want to observe general damage patterns, tank healing strategy or boss mechanics. It also depends on how much I already of the fight (learning the heroic version vs a completely new fight).

Together, you and I are going to prepare for Heroic Imperial Vizier Zor’lok.

1- Decide what we’re looking for

If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you won’t find it!

Let’s figure out our needs:

1) We (I) already know this fight on normal so we’re not too concerned about mechanics.
2) We know that this is a “heal through Force and Verve and don’t get hit by disks” fight so we’re not too interested in general healing strategies.
3) We do, however, want to get an idea of the overall damage patterns so we can choose our glyphs, talents and plan our cooldowns.

Now that we’ve figured out what we’re looking for, we’ll know not to waste time on individual healer spell breakdowns or incoming tank damage logs.

Instead, we’ll probably spend a lot of time looking at the “Total Damage Taken” graph and matching the spikes with the boss abilities from the Log Browser. We’ll probably also look at the “Deaths Overview” page to see what attacks tend to kill players. We might also want to compare a tank and a non-tank’s Damage Taken graphs with the Total Damage Taken graph.

If this is gibberish to you, don’t worry, I’ll explain it all in time.

2- Collect some background information

It does help to review a strat guide to get an idea of spell names (and general mechanics if this is a completely new fight) before perusing the logs. Even if you can’t understand general strat guides (I usually don’t), keep them opened in tabs for references.

Let’s open the Icy Veins strat and Pardeux’ strat.

3- Find some Logs

findinglogs

To find logs, select the fight (1), the size/difficulty (2) then the link to the kills (3).

To get a decent idea of what you’ll be facing, you’ll want to pick the logs of:

1) A recent kill (patches and hotfixes constantly change fights).
2) A kill in your language (it’s a lot of extra work to decode a foreign spell names).
3) A kill from a guild with comparable dps/healing strength.

findingguild

There are 106 pages of Vizier kills and I know my guild struggles a bit with dps performance, so I’m going straight to my URL bar (1) and to enter page 101 (if you’re not sure of the URL, go to the very bottom of the page and click on the “next” link on the far left. That will bring you to page 2. Then go back to your URL and replace “2” with “101”.)

The “US Guild!” logs seem perfect – fairly recent, in my language and probably in my guild’s dps range.

I’m going to choose logs from another guild in the same range as well for comparison purposes. I’m also going to pull up logs of a recent kill by a top notch guild (in the first 10 pages of the kills list) so I can see how the fight looks when executed perfectly.

4- Note the Length of the Fight

Our “comparable” fights:

fightlength1
fightlength2

And our “top notch” fight:

fightlength3

Building our strat: Knowing the fight varies between 7 and 10.5 minutes is important for cooldown planning. Because the fights are long, we know we can use our “long” cooldowns like Guardian of Ancient Kings twice, and our “medium” cooldowns like Avenging Wrath or Divine Favor at least twice, preferably 3 times.

5- Look at Damage Taken

findingdmgtaken

If you choose Damage Taken from the dropdown bar, you’ll get a graph with a lot of lines. Scroll down to the list below the graphs and uncheck every box. You’ll end up with graphs like this:

dmgtaken1
dmgtaken2
dmgtaken3

The first two are our comparable guilds, the last is the top notch guild.

These graphs make me giddy because they are very much alike. Which means the damage patterns will look like this: spiky at first, then a lull with possible minor spikes, then several intense spikes for the last ~1/3 of the fight.

See the 5 buttons on the top right corner, just under “Total”? You can play with those to check who died to what and when, verify when adds die (not shown in the images I posted, but there are 2 adds in the fight) and show/hide heroism (heroism is shown in the images as the large blue bar).

Building our strat: This fits perfectly with our cooldowns! We’ll pop Guardian of the Ancient Kings and another cooldown for the first major spike. We can use other cooldowns if there are spikes during the “lull” phase, and all cooldowns should be ready for use by the time the final spiky phase comes along. As well, spikes mean we’ll probably want to spec into Holy Avenger for the yummy burst healing.

6- Match up Damage Spikes to Boss Abilities

findinglogbrowser

Open the log browser.

logquery

Once you’re in the log browser, remove the current query (1) (I’m not sure why “Show all events” comes up by default. It did take me a long time to figure out how to use the log browser because of that.) then hit “Add Query” (2). Once you’ve entered your query, hit “Run” (3).

addquery

When you hit “Add Query”, the “Add Query” window pops up. The log browser only shows a limited number of lines so you have to be specific in what you’re looking for. It does take a little practice to become good at finding what you’re looking for but once you figure it out, it’s simple.

For this analysis, I want to look at spells cast (1) by the Source Imperial Vizier Zor’lok (2) (note: spelling is important when using the log browser). Then I hit save.

zorlokcasts

After running the query, the log shows all of Zor’lok’s casts.

The rest is just matching up the spells to the Damage Taken graph. Note that there is often a 5-15 second difference between the timestamps on the log browser and the timestamps on the graph, which can be frustrating and confusing.

We can conclude that all the first minor spike is probably Pheromones of Zeal damage (I would guess comparable guild #2 started the fight on the first platform, hence why they only have one spike at the beginning while the other guilds have 2 spikes), the second is Force and Verve, small spikes in between are people getting hit during Attenuation, medium spikes are likely Converts and the major spikes at the end are Force and Verve during the final phase.

Building our strat: Force and Verve is going to hurt a lot, so we should be ready with our cooldowns as soon as he starts casting it. We also know that Force and Verve and Attenuation are physical damage so Devotion Aura will be useless against them (Devo Aura might be helpful would be during the transition between platforms or MAYBE during Convert, since those are the only times any Magic damage will be going out). Hand of Protection, however, might be nice making Clemency an interesting talent choice. We should glyph Divine Protection, and we could combine it with Unbreakable Spirit instead of choosing Clemency as well. Because Force and Verve is AoE damage while we’re grouped up, Light’s Hammer is a good talent choice too. Holy Prism may also be an option, though I’m feeling more Light’s Hammer.

7- Peak at the Deaths Overview

deathsoverview

The deathlog is probably my favorite part of logs because it shows you who dies to what and when. During post-raid analysis it quickly tells you who’s dying to avoidable damage. In a pre-raid analysis, it tells you which abilities to be ready for, and helps you differentiate deadly abilities from abilities that just hurt a lot.

In this kill, 10 players died to Attenuation, 10 died to Force and Verve and one tank died to normal melee damage.

Building our strat: This just re-enforces what we already know: Force and Verve is going to hurt (so all CDs, talents and Glyphs toward burst healing and reducing physical damage), and we should concentrate extra hard during Attenuation.

Conclusion!

There you have it! We’re set for Imperial Vizier Zor’lok!

And for your enjoyment, attached is a copy of what I posted on our guild forums. (more…)

So where did Rykga end up?

January 22, 2013

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about my guild situation.

Last we spoke, I had caught up with my old guild Conquest and joined socially until the nightmare at work got sorted out.

Since then, I went guild searching at all the usual places. Let me tell you, the market is not the same as it was at the end of Cata! My work schedule does force me to look for something very specific, but still, not a single pitch was made to me. Not one.

Then I went to WoW progress and looked at EVERY. SINGLE. GUILD. in my progression range. Ok, I lie, I looked at every single US server Alliance 25m guild in my progression range.

I found 3 guilds with compatible schedules.

Guess how many of those guilds were recruiting?

That’s right: ZERO.

One even had a notice on their website that they were too full up to be accepting applications at all.

25m raiders becoming extinct, my two asscheeks.

A Decision had to be made

I really wasn’t ready to give up on raiding yet and figured I had decent chances with the two guilds that were accepting “exceptional players”. After a month hiatus, I was anything but exceptional, but a few farm runs could fix that easily.

Still, another idea was growing on me. I talked to some people, sent some emails, did a Mumble interview, took a shot in the dark and re-applied to Conquest as a raider.

Ta-da! Sporting the Tabard of Brohood once again!

Ta-da! Sporting the Tabard of Brohood once again!

I know, WoW blogger gossip fans are loving it. LOVING IT.

You went back to your ex!” (Simply a reference to how I often talk about my guild relationships in romantic terms. Rein in that gossip a little bit, I’ve never dated a Conquest bro.)

Don’t you remember what happened last time?

Believe me, I remember. I remember very well. I can even still work myself into a rage when I think about it enough.

But, you know what? After 2 years it’s time to let go a little bit and get over stuff. I’ve matured, the people involved have either left or matured, and each time I’ve gotten together with the Conquest crew in real life (that’s right, I’ve still being going to their meetups), I’ve had a blast. And seriously folks, there are worse things in life then having your feelings hurt by your WoW guild leadership.

So, how’s it going?

When asked how it’s going by non-guildies, I’ve answered with an “I don’t know“.

Then I wait a little bit as the other person squeals with excitement and grabs some popcorn. That’s when I let the hungry gossipers down with “On a personal level, it’s been awesome.”

Honestly, I’m blown away by how much the guild has grown up. I can still recognize my old stomping ground: the bro feeling is strong (girls can be bros too so it’s good), most of my favorite people are still there (but not all. Kaldora and Evan… I miss youuuuuuu) and many of the indescribable dynamics that make Conquest what it is haven’t changed.

But the things that used to bother me? Most of them, GONE! All the annoying people had left to make their own guild (which apparently crashed and burned just recently, much to everyone’s amusement), guild chat and the forums are very entertaining places, the officers, from what I can tell, are actually doing their job and I haven’t heard childish language, like, at all. (While I don’t get offended easily, I find childish behaviour tiring. If I wanted to be surrounded by 12 year olds, I’d be a schoolteacher.) There are also a few farming projects going on where everyone can voluntarily pitch in, which seems to be really beneficial socially.

It makes me want to log in and get involved and help out.

Raid-wise, though, it’s tough to adapt to a new style, especially when I liked OE’s raids so much. Since joining, I’ve been a diva, I’ve raged, I’ve pestered my healing lead, I’ve waved around the Giant Spoon… (I swear my healing lead must regret the day he promoted me to raider. Even I didn’t realize I was such a handful.) Conquest’s healing team’s only crime, though, is not being OE’s healing team. I’m just not over my romance with OE’s healing team.

I have conflicting feelings too in that I’m new, but I’m not new. I’m new in that I don’t know most of the team and they don’t know me. Some of the raid customs have changed and, as the new person, I would normally shut up and observe for a little while. But I don’t feel new. I know all the long-timers. I know the back-story to almost all the guild jokes (heck, I am the back-story to some of those jokes!). I have way more confidence than I usually do when joining a guild, which might get me into trouble. (Or it might be a good thing, I don’t know. The fight strat threads were so quiet and lonely, ever since I went all Bossy Pally on our Heroic Blade Lord thread, they’ve come alive.)

Of Progression and Efficiency

I can’t say I was taking a step back in progression because, well, after over a month of hiatus at the beginning of an expansion, a person falls far, far behind. However, I was worried about taking a step back in, I guess, progressiveness.

I’m not the healer who puts out the most hps, I’m not the fastest to assimilate mechanics (I’m not bad, but my age is showing and I’ve become slightly slower than the average progression player) and I have limits as to how far I’ll go to be better (no arena 4 piece for me). But I work best under pressure, I raid to kill bosses, I know my class, I have no life commitments holding me back (other than my work schedule) and, in the right environment, I have military-like discipline.

At the beginning of November, the last time I raided with OE, Conquest was quite a bit behind OE in terms of progression. That made me nervous. I don’t care about number of kills too much, but I crave high pressure environments, and those environments tends to go hand in hand with boss kills.

It’s working out though. Right after I joined, Conquest went from 1/16H to 6/16H, and I’m hoping for 8/16H by the end of this lockout. (Last night a guildie said “have you noticed that since Rykga joined the guild, we’re finally killing hard modes?“. While I had absolutely nothing to do with 2 kills and very little to do with the others, the joke still totally made my night. It’s this new Holy Pally passive, Heroic Aura. Makes your guildies kill hard modes.)

Anyway, the environment is more relaxed, but the level of discipline is totally acceptable.

I’ve also finally started, you know, playing the game. I did my first pet battle, I wrapped up the various Pandarian questlines, I did some rep grinding with useless factions. I even did a couple of quests on my mage. I have more time for me but also, I find I want to play more and just enjoy reading the banter in /g.

There’s been talk in the guild of making 300 food and valor capping mandatory. (Matt even brought it to his blog.) Me, I don’t mind being forced to valor cap and eat 300 food. I eat 300 food anyway: if I could produce enough 2 weeks after MoP came out, there’s no reason I can’t now. I try to valor cap, but when something comes up on Sat/Sun/Mon, I don’t feel guilty about not reaching the bar.

If I suddenly needed to, I would, however I would expect proper payoff. If I’m putting the energy into the game that I would for a top guild then I expect my guild to progress like a top guild.

Going to Ride the Waves

I think that, so far, I’m happy.

I know and accept that the tides might change and I may decide the raids aren’t for me. Or 2 years ago might replay itself as I suddenly become all OCD and start grasping at threads. But you know what? Getting hurt and failures are part of life. Nothing lasts forever and I’m ok with falls as long as the ride’s worth it.

How I’m healing in MoP – Holy Pally 4eva: Links and Ressources

January 21, 2013

So. Many. Words.

When I started on this project back in November, I set out to do a quick FAQ/Pally 101. I discovered pretty fast that there’s no way to do justice to paladin healing which a simple model like that. 11 817 words later (counting this post), I’m finally wrapping up with links to the resources I consulted and thank yous to everyone who helped with this project.

Alright, so either you’ve read every word in this series (HAHAHAHA) and you’re begging for more, more, more pally chat. (Shoot me an email, I’m always looking for fellow pallies to share my never-ending enthusiasm with!) Or oppositely, you found my verboseness overwhelming (or you hate my writing style) and you’re looking for something more…concise.

You’re in luck!

There is plenty of Holy Pally reading material out there for all tastes and levels of nerdiness.

Other Holy Paladin Guides

MMO-Champion’s [MOP] Holy Paladin Guide 5.0: Crafted by the most excellent Getsu (Kerfax on the MMO-Champion forums) with input from the folks at MMO-Champion, this guide manages to be both comprehensive and brief. It was huge source of inspiration to me and I used it quite a bit to double check my facts and ideas. You can also find Getsu’s guide on his blog.

Icy Vein’s Holy Paladin Healing Guide (WoW MoP 5.1): I’ve only skimmed through this guide, but it seems rather accurate and very complete. Build with the intelligent page layout that we’ve come to love and expect from Icy Veins.

Taillias’ [Holy] Moar Light – 5.1 PvE healing guide: I came across this official forums guide as I was researching this post. I read a few excerpts and it seems solid.

Pardeux Raids’ Holy Paladin Class Guide: Pardeux’ guide has probably the most fun layout I’ve ever encountered. It was written either right before the expansion or very early on in the expansion so some of the wording might seem weird now, but it’s still very accurate work from a highly experienced holy paladin and raider.

Athlios’ Holy Paladin Guide: While I question its accuracy (Haste over Mastery in PvE with no explanation?), Athlios’ guide over at WoWHead is short, sweet and easy to navigate for quick references.

Shorter Articles Referenced for this Series

5.0 & You: Talents, Glyphs and Playstyle Changes at 85, by Kurn at Kurn’s Corner
Holy Paladin Talents part 1 and part 2, by Rohan at Blessing of Kings
How to Holy Paladin in Patch 5.0 including my first ever flowchart!, by Gina at Healbot
BREAKING NEWS: Holy Avenger and Holy Paladins (and its update), by Kurn at Kurn’s Corner
How to not fail at healing T14 Heroics, by Gina at Healbot
On Mana and the Glyph of Illumination at Level 85, by JoeEgo at Leveling Holy
Eternal Flame Blanketing, by Rohan at Blessing of Kings
Eternal Flame Blanketing, by Getsu at Getsu’s Sanctuary
Why I love <3 Hand of Purity, by Gina at Healbot

Active Holy Paladin Blogs

Getsu’s Sanctuary: If you want a holy paladin guide, a fight-specific guide, reflections on patch changes, or even some insightful non-WoW musing, Getsu’s your blogger.
Healbot: For a long time, Gina spoke of paladin healing in a 10s setting. It appears she’s now jumped ship to heal 25s, like, well, all of us holy pally bloggers. I’m positive, however, that her writing will continue to be excellent with all the enthusiasm and energy we expect when reading her blog.
Healing Spec: If you prefer to listen to your bloggers over reading them, you’re in luck! Megacode produces fantastic regular short podcasts on paladin healing. He’s also very active and friendly on Twitter so make sure you fin him there too!
Blessing of Kings: Rohan only occasionally speaks on the topic of holy paladins, but everything he writes is interesting, so if you haven’t added him to your reader yet, you should get on that.
Healing Mains: Elunamakata isn’t exactly a paladin, but she does write on topics of interest to all healers, including paladins. Definitely worth adding to your reader.
Orcish Army Knife: While he doesn’t write about paladins specifically, Rades’s posts have had a delicious holy pally flavour to them lately. And anything Rades writes is pure gold, so you should add him to your reader regardless.
High Latency Life: Once a mage, Rivs is now a holy paladin. And not just a PvE holy paladin like the rest of us, no, he’s one of the rare bloggers to venture into the mysterious realm of PvP. While he doesn’t write theory posts, he has a unique writing style and chooses topics that provide a nice break from the raiding-raiding-raiding posts we see everywhere. (Warning, NSFW!)

Occasionally Updated Holy Paladin Blogs

Leveling Holy: JoeEgo doesn’t update often, but when he does, it’s guaranteed to be informative and relevant. Add him to your reader so you don’t miss out.
Pardeux Raids: Pardeux hasn’t updated for about 2 months, but his series (on raid management, on healing technique among others) are still very relevant. Keep an eye on him for when he returns with his next series of posts. And if you stray off the blog and onto the rest of the site, you’ll find a wealth of information on classes, boss strats, videos and more.
fullspectrumholypally: I only discovered this blog as I was researching this very post, which is a shame as Bouchbagette has written a number of pieces that would have been useful to me for past posts. He (I think)’s been very quiet lately, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that he’ll return with some new juicy numbers.
Kurn’s Corner: Kurn, who dominated the holy paladin blogging scene during Cata, has unfortunately left us for the scary Outside World, but does stop by once in awhile to say “hi“.
Dwarven Battle Medic: Fannon is another holy paladin blogger who spends most of his time in the Outside World, but I’m not ready to give up on his blog yet. (Also, I get to babysit his daughter sometimes!)
Holy Shock: Ruthra updates in splurts, and from what I can tell, he’s still running as a holy paladin.

Holy (and Multi-Spec) Paladin Message Boards

MMO-Champion Paladin Forum:
This was probably my number one reference for writing this series. Lots of great conversations going on over there. Worth hanging out at, even if all you do is read.
Elitist Jerks Holy Paladin Thread: Not as active as it used to be, but on the bright side, it’s easier than ever to keep up with the thread. What little holy paladin theorycrafting is happening can be found within.
Wowhead Paladin Forum: Not the most active of paladin forums, but it’s there if you want to share your thoughts with Wowhead members.
Plus Heal Paladin Forums: Deceptively quiet. While there’s little chitchat going on, there are very friendly members who watch the forum like hawks. If you post a question, you’re very likely to receive a solid answer.
Official Paladin Forums: It’s the official forums! Very lively, with some good conversations going on.
Official Healing Forums: Less paladin centric, but the perfect place to hang out if you want to get into Holy Paladins vs everyone else discussions.

Biiiig Hugs and Thank yous

To Talarian, Trading Post, Ngita, Fearana, ithilyn, Boranos, Joe Ego, Rades, Sol, Saif, Megacode, Viktory, Rohan, cebrafin, grimmtooth, Shy, Malva, repgrind and Ace;

Thank you so much all of you for taking the time to read and comment on the Holy Pally 4 eva series (and/or the Garalon post). Whether it was to report a mistake, offer an alternative view or just say a “hi, I read this!“, your help, advice and support has been invaluable.

Huge thanks as well to everyone who retweeted me, who posted links on their guild forums or Facebook or who shared my blog on their own corners of the internet. You kept me motivated and excited while writing all these words about paladins.

Haters can say what they want about WoW players and the WoW community, but, me, I am constantly amazed at how much support and positivity go around in our circles.

And with that, cheers to WoW’s Holy Paladins, and may we never run out of internet dragons to slay (or heal)!


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